Last Sunday: My lovely (if bitchy) gorgon martial artist Syrinx, gets the surprise of a lifetime. In the process of curing a client of a major petrification curse, the client's brother is also brought back to life. He has a simple request at this point: join me or die. Being the die-hard mercs we are, we're sticking with the client who has yet to pay us the other half for a job we only recently completed. Initiatives are rolled and battle begins. Syrinx, being a gorgon, is used to other people turning to stone and understandably has an aversion to the shoe going on the other foot. Lo and behold, upon 'borrowing' this prick's sword, Syrinx's hand rapidly becomes a marble fixture.
From a mechanical standpoint, she had been built to get close to an enemy, take their weapon and hand it back pointy-end first. Add one enemy with a cursed blade, and Boom! Hoisted by my own petard. Well played, sir. Well played. I have now experienced my first cursed item. Time to ponder the implications...
It's not that bad! Really!
I have a very simple way of looking at things from a gaming standpoint. If it makes things more interesting, it can't be all bad. Cursed items and the like can, and do, make things interesting. Not necessarily in a good or bad way specifically, but interesting nonetheless. In the short run, you may end up with something silly or simple that hampers your ability. Just a slight handicap, upping the challenge by just a bit. On the other end of the spectrum you might end up with an entire plot line. A whole new adventure to go on, or a new development for your character. Assuming they don't die, of course.
There's a lot of people that don't like cursed items, and with good reason. If utilized poorly, they can seem unfair or harshly punishing to the player. Personally, I don't blame those people, but I do think that often comes from GMs who misuse the power and trust they are handed by the players. Bad experiences leave people with bitter perspectives. Like all things in a game, a careful hand is called for.
Great. Now what?
Once something like this has been discovered, there are numerous questions to be asked. How long is this going to last? Is it fatal? Can it be reversed? If so, by means currently available to us or by something of pure plot? Do I get to keep the skull and spinal column I ripped out of the guy who did this? But I think the most important question is will this lead to more fun? This is totally subjective, but if you're playing a game where you're looking for adventure, isn't this what you were looking for anyways? Probably not what you were expecting or the way you wanted it, but hey. There ya go!
At the end of it all I look forward to seeing how this gets resolved. It might just be a minor annoyance, or it could be a lot of fun. It certainly got the character to flip her gourd. And I am keeping the skull, for those who were wondering. At least it wasn't a Belt of Gender Change. Or worse. A Belt of Genre Change.
I think I'll keep that one in mind.
And remember, keep the dice on the table, and Stay classy!